What are the causes of hypoxemia in patients with myocardial infarction (MI, heart attack), and how are oxygen levels monitored?

Updated: May 07, 2019
  • Author: A Maziar Zafari, MD, PhD, FACC, FAHA; Chief Editor: Eric H Yang, MD  more...
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Blood oxygenation should be checked and repeatedly corrected if any clinical findings suggest hypoxemia; hypoxemia may result from pulmonary congestion, atelectasis, or ventilatory impairment secondary to complications of MI or excessive sedation or analgesia. Fingertip oximetry may be adequate in the absence of carbon dioxide retention and may obviate puncture to assess arterial blood gases (ABGs). Such puncturing may lead to bleeding in patients being treated with thrombolytic drugs. However, normal oxygen saturation does not exclude impending respiratory failure.

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